Justin TV, a video streaming site that has garnered over five million viewers a month has announced that it will be permanently deleting all of its archived videos on June 8, 2014. With the deletion deadline looming, people with videos archived on the site, some of which have been there as long as seven years, have limited time to adjust to the situation. In addition, the deletion of archiving will affect premium account services, which have allowed broadcasters to live stream video content with unlimited storage space.
Justin TV was created by Justin Kan, Kyle Vogt, Emmett Shear and Michael Seibel and the original broadcast content was reflective of the website’s name. In other words, the streaming content was a 24/7 capture of Justin’s life – a concept that has come to be known as “lifecasting.” Justin’s lifecasting was not related to the practice of using different mediums applied to a living being to create three-dimensional models of the human body. Rather it was all about digital media streaming.
Justin broadcasted his life using a baseball cap designed by Vogt that was equipped with a webcam. The webcam fed his laptop, which he carried in a backpack, and with this medium tech setup, on March 19, 2007 Justin began lifecasting to anyone who was interested in watching. With a nation of voyeurs at his disposal, Justin soon grabbed not only the attention of a rapt audience who found one man’s live, streaming broadcast fascinating; he also quickly grabbed the attention of the media.
Shortly after being interviewed on several news shows, Justin TV expanded to include approximately 60 channels and has grown exponentially since then. This expansion to a larger platform may have been Justin’s intention all along and the original livecasts meant to bring attention to a business venture. Whether it was by design or not, Justin TV soon became a global resource for livecasters from all walks of life, both those casting from stationary locations and those on the go who documented their travels.
One of the most controversial livescasts on Justin TV occurred in 2008 and was the highly disturbing broadcast of 19-year-old Abraham K. Biggs who committed suicide “on air.” Biggs knew he was being watched and in front of his audience, he overdosed himself with prescription drugs. Although the broadcast was removed by Justin TV, a portion of it remarkably is still available on YouTube. The young man suffered from bipolar disorder and his father publicly blamed those who had watched his son die claiming that they were partly responsible for his death. The site has also had some issues with the illegal streaming of movies and television programs.
The Justin TV blog has posted a statement explaining the decision to delete all of the video archives. It seems that the archived videos on demand (VOD) were rarely watched with “0 or 1 total views.” Justin TV has determined that this indicates that the archive is not a good use of their service and that it is clear that “JTV is a home for live broadcasts.” Seemingly in line with the original concept of Justin TV, the statement also points out that viewers come to the site to “interact with their communities” and because they want to view content in “real-time.” In other words, live streaming.
By Alana Marie Burke